By Brian Bariyo Tumuramye
Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp will miss the FA Cup fourth round replay against Shrewsbury along with his first-team players.
The Reds let a two-goal lead slip against the League One club on Sunday, meaning they will meet again at Anfield on February 4.
It falls in the middle of Liverpool’s two-week winter break, and Klopp has declared he and none of his senior players will be present for the match.
Instead the Reds boss will repeat what he did in December, when there was a clash between their Club World Cup commitments in Qatar and a Carabao Cup quarter-final at Aston Villa, and send out Under-23s manager Neil Critchley and his team of youngsters.
When asked if he would have preferred to avoid an FA Cup fourth round replay, Klopp Said “One hundred per cent.
“So the situation is the following what we said, we got a letter last April from the Premier League that they asked us to respect the February winter break and not organise any international friendlies or competitive games, so we did that.
“We respected the winter break. So we will be in the winter break and in two weeks’ time our youngsters will play against Shrewsbury at Anfield. That’s the solution.”
He later added: “The Premier League asked us to respect the winter break. That’s what we do. If the FA doesn’t respect that, then we cannot change it. We will not be there.
“Does that mean I won’t be there? Yes. Neil Critchley will be in charge.”
Klopp has long been a critic of the football calendar, when games are scheduled and how frequently, so feels it would be hypocritical not to take advantage of a break which has been pencilled in for a year.
“International players like Jordan Henderson, Virgil Van Dijk, Gini Wijnaldum, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Mo Salah, Sadio Mane, all these guys, they are never off,” he added.
“It’s clear there would be a winter break months ago, before I knew the FA Cup replay could come in between.
“I can give you the letter from the Premier League, it’s like it is, we have to respect it.
“The players will have one week off. They don’t have it ‘off’, they will train but they will train for themselves. They have running programmes, they have fitness programmes, that’s what they do.
“They never have ‘off’ but they don’t come to Melwood and they don’t play a football game.
Curtis Jones and a Donald Love own goal had put Liverpool 2-0 up against Shrewsbury. However, two goals from substitute Jason Cummings within a 10-minute period rescued the tie for the Shrews.
Klopp admitted Liverpool found it hard to play on Shrewsbury’s pitch.
He added: “I think, hopefully, we’re always honest, the 2-2 is the least Shrewsbury deserved today.
“So they had counter-attacking chances in the first-half, one-on-ones with Adrian after we lost the ball. They didn’t score there.
“We scored a really nice goal, they scored our second goal by themselves, but we never really got used to the pitch, to be honest.
“We tried to build up [play], but the ball was constantly rolling. We were hectic, we played into their feet, that’s not us, and that should not be like this. Today, it was like this so we have to accept that.
“They scored the first goal, the stadium was 100 per cent there, they scored the second one and we made a few changes, but in the end it didn’t work out. Congratulations to Shrewsbury.”